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GRIEF + GRATITUDE

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  • Ferera Swan

The Table



The restaurant has a breezeway in between two sets of doors, and as I reach for the second door handle, she lightly taps me on the shoulder to let me know she’s arrived, too. It wasn’t clear who initiated our plan to meet for dinner so we could talk, but I haven’t seen her in over a decade.


Despite having reservations made, we have to wait for our table. Loud chatter and clinks of dishes fill the space as we sit at the bar like two statues. I offer some friendly, lighthearted comments to break the silence, but her coldness makes it clear that she’s being cautious. Slightly annoyed, I try to ignore it because it’s just something she does to protect herself—intuitively, I know it doesn’t match what’s in her heart.


We continue to wait. I quietly take in the moment, observing the mustard yellow painted walls and dim lighting. I’m beginning to wonder why our table still isn’t ready. People are leaving, and new parties are being sat. We ask a manager about our table, and he says he should have something ready soon. Our shoulders have loosened a bit and we’re beginning to weave in and out of dialogue.


Suddenly, the lights turn up. Bussers begin clearing off tables. Waitstaff move about briskly as a male tenor continues belting out an operatic aria through the speakers. Guests are making their way out, and the restaurant appears to be closing for the night. Angry, panicked, and confused, I demand to know what’s going on and why we were never sat. Without providing an answer, the manager offers that we can sit at one of the tables facing the bar. The reason is unclear.


At this moment, the realization hits me—it’s too late to have dinner together. The restaurant is closed. I’m in my biological mother’s arms, tears pouring from my eyes, sobbing frantically and shaking with rage. She begins to rock me like a baby, running her fingers through my hair.

I hate her and love her at the same time—and for the very first time, I catch a glimpse of what it feels like to be calm.


I’m aware that my dream world and physical world have merged, but I don’t open my eyes. The cameras of my subconscious are still rolling, and I don’t want to move. Wiping my eyes as I draw in a long breath, I wish on everything that it won't be too late.

This is a lucid dream I had recently and I've been reflecting a lot on all its metaphors.